XOXO, I Hate You
By Elena Lane
Date: June 5, 2019
Ch. 99

Beverly sat in the park with Gordon, her head against his shoulder. He pointed at an old building and they both admired it for a moment, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. She had broken up with Greg two months ago and had afterwards, given Gordon all of her attention, but that night was special. Beverly was finally going to tell Gordon that she loved him.
It was a little chilly outside, but with Gordon beside her, Beverly didn’t seem to notice. “So, it’s a beautiful night,” Beverly comment distractedly. She couldn’t just blurt out “I love you,” to him. The words that she was about to proclaim were something special. So, she needed to set up the perfect moment.
But Gordon wasn’t going to make it easy, “What’s with you?” he asked skeptically. Okay, maybe it had sounded weird. Beverly didn’t normally have to resort to small talk. Never before had Bev felt nervous to talk to him. Usually, it was so easy; so, why was Beverly making it so hard? “You’re not the type of girl who randomly admires the night,” Gordon said with a chuckle.
“How do you know what kind of girl I am?” Beverly asked teasingly, attempting to sound more like her normal self, but she wasn’t sure that she was succeeding.
“Now that’s the Beverly that I know,” Gordon said with a smirk, “And I know what kind of girl you are because I love you.” Darn. He had beaten her to the punch, but he was making things easier for Beverly. He had inadvertently led her to exactly what she wanted.
Still, the words didn’t roll off her tongue like she wanted them to. Instead, she remained silent.
“You don’t have to say it back, Bev. I’ve told you that before. I just like to tell you how I feel. Even if you don’t love me yet, I don’t mind waiting. I know that you sometimes have trouble sorting out your feelings and committing to them. That’s just something I decided to live with because I really do love you.”
“Stop rambling, Gordon,” Beverly said more sharply than she had meant to.
“Sorry,” Gordon mumbled. “I just don’t want to push you into anything.”
“You’re not. It’s just that you ruined the moment,” Beverly whined.
“What moment?” Gordon asked with an eyebrow raised.
“The one where I tell you that ‘I love you.’ I swear, sometimes you’re such an oblivious idiot. Why did you think that I was talking about the sky? I was doing it to set the mood, but then you started talking and the plan took a detour. I just got nervous, that’s all. But I’ve been trying to say it all night.”
“Now, who’s being the idiot. You don’t have to plan to say I love you. There’s nothing wrong with a little spontaneity. Though, I do appreciate the effort. Really, I do.”
“I just wanted the moment to be special.”
“Every moment with--”
“Don’t even finish that,” Beverly warned.
“Why? I was trying to be romantic,” Gordon laughed.
“Gordon, I’ve told you; there’s a difference between lame and romantic. Most times, you’re lame.”
“Maybe, but at least I tell you how I feel. I’m not afraid to say ‘I love you.’”
“I just told you how I felt, Gordon.”
“But you never said ‘I love you.’” He protested.
“You said that you didn’t want to pressure me,” Beverly said, rolling her eyes.
“That was before I knew that you were going to say it anyway.”
“You’re so needy sometimes. I can’t understand why I love you.”
“What was that?” Gordon asked giddily, pretending he couldn’t hear her.
“You’re needy sometimes.”
Gordon chuckled, “No, Bev, the other part.”
“Oh right,” Beverly said, “I can’t remember what it was that I said. Sorry.”
Gordon pulled Beverly down so that she was laying across his lap. He hugged her tightly, “Tell me or I won’t share my body warmth with you anymore and I definitely won’t let you drag me shopping anymore.”
“I don’t need your body warmth and you like shopping with me.”
Gordon scoffed, “I don’t like shopping with you, Bev. I just pretend to.”
“Come on,” Bev said, “You love buying stuff. I’ve seen your closet.”
“Okay, so I like shopping, but you still need my body heat,” He joked, gently pulling Bev away from him as she tried to snuggle up closer to him.
“Fine,” Beverly pouted, but she wasn’t actually all that upset. She was going to say the words that had been on her mind all night and she was going to say them as sincerely as she possibly could. “Gordon Reeve, I love you, even if you are a lame hopeless romantic.”
He smiled, “Well, the last part wasn’t necessary, but those words sure do sound beautiful coming from your mouth. I love you, Bev and there’s nothing in the world that could change that,” Gordon said, pulling Beverly close. He looked as happy as Bev felt. Beverly found herself staring into his deep eyes; maybe a little hopeless romantic was rubbing off on her and maybe it was for the better.
For a while, Beverly forgot completely that a marriage had been arranged between them and that she was giving them a reason to gloat. Because in all honesty, as she was in Gordon’s arms, Beverly didn’t care about any of that. The only thing in the world that mattered right then and there was Gordon. Everything was perfect.

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